Thanksgiving 2019

This entry is more for my benefit than anyone else.  So you may want to stop here. I love to look back each year to see what comments I made about preparing for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2019



10-12# Turkey
Stuffing with country sausage. (Remember – Take some out to make small casserole dish of plain. Paige does not like the sausage. Stuff turkey with the sausage made and put rest of stuffing in separate casserole dish. Stuffing is a fabulous leftover!)
Rustic Rolls (everyone loves these rolls)
Fruit with fruit dip (Who knows what I will do next year.  Kept it simple this year.)
Eric-Mashed potatoes
Paige-Sweet potato crisp
Roasted broccoli (next year maybe a salad or 1 head broccoli.)

We ordered Heritage Turkey 10-12# from Maplewood meats and picked up on Saturday.  We also got a 3 ½ # tenderloin for Christmas Eve. 1# country sausage for our stuffing.

I started my stock the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I got 1 package each of wings and thighs at Woodman’s. I baked them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Removed from roasting pan.  Added 12 cups water to the roasting pan.  Took meat off of the bones. Added to roasting pan along with 2 chopped onions, 2 carrots, 2 celery, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme and several sprigs of parsley. Cooked 3-4 hours.  It took some time so that is why I did it on Sunday.  That was not a problem at all.  Turned out delish.  Used for my gravy and stuffing.

Also Sunday, cubed 1 ½  loaves of Pepperidge Farms Hearty White bread. (Should weigh out 16 ounces.  I needed this amount for the stuffing.  I ended up having to do more on Thanksgiving Day. Next year do at least 2 loaves.)

The house smelled awesome!

The night before I cleaned and cut up the broccoli.  Baked cubed bread at 275 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Check every 15 minutes. Stored the cubed bread in storage bags.

Thanksgiving Day was a casual day.  Made breakfast and walked Rooney.  Earlier in the day cleaned the turkey.  Made a small stock with the neck and giblets.  Made stuffing but need to do around 11ish (remember it takes time).  The turkey got done 2 hours early.  2019 put in oven at 1:30, next year with dinner at 6 put in around 2:30.  We did have it sit around for an hour or so before cutting.  Took out the stuffing when it was cool and placed in oven covered with foil to keep warm.   When I made the gravy I used Wondra this year.  Now I know why my mom used this product.  Should have known better than to wait until now to use it. I’m not going to even tell you how many years. Even with her gone I still learn something from her.  😉

Dinner was awesome and we had some great conversation.  Still a lot of food and no need to go crazy with desserts.  I always have to remind myself of this – Every. Single. Year!!

Martin and Roko celebrated Thanksgiving at their home in NYC. They were with us in spirit!  Here is my favorite pic of the year with myself, Martin and Roko.


Random Thoughts – How to Stay Young

I added this post to my blog in August 2015.  In 2019 I am going through my blog trying to organize it. I thought I would bring this to the front for another read.  My dad passed in 2016, mom in 2017.  Miss them both very much. This was nice to see again.  My mom was my everything that’s all I can say.

When I was in Syracuse in July  my mom was in rehab for a fractured pelvis.  I would visit dad at their assisted living apartment.  (For some reason I can’t call that their home.  They left their home 6 years ago.)  Needless to say I saw a stack of papers on her table, one of which was a story Eric wrote long ago.  I knew in those papers there were probably articles she cherished.  Amongst the papers was this one, “How to Stay Young”.   I read through it as I was sitting at her small kitchen table. I can relate to all 10 of those listed.  So, take a deep breath and enjoy the read.  I know my mom would.  August 044

“How to Stay Young”
(Author; unknown)

1. Throw out non-essential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her. (Well, I am not sure about this one but I will ignore the age part.)

 2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. (This is so true.  Get that negativity out of your life.  Life is way too short to deal with it and it definitely brings you down.)

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ” An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s. (Since my dad has Alzheimer’s I think about this often.  My cooking hobby keeps me busy.  I am always doing something.  If you know me you know I am not idle…EVER.)August 017 66 years together this November!

4. Enjoy the simple things. (Need I say more.)

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. (One person who can make me laugh totally out of control is my brother Scott.  I just don’t see him enough.  When I do, watch out!)

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive. (Believe in yourself and nothing can stop you.)

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge. (Your home is so important.  We are so fortunate to have that, aren’t we?)

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help. (Just take care of yourself, it is not that hard!)

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is. (I don’t know about this one.  My mom gave me lots of guilt trips to travel.  I try it with my kids every once in a while.  They just go to the mall :D)

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. And always remember: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. (You can never tell them enough, can you?)

Hope you enjoyed as much as my mom! Ciao!!

Thanksgiving 2017 – My 2 cents

It has only taken me 3 months to post my Thanksgiving 2017 memories.  This post is more for me than anyone else.  Thanksgiving is my absolute, favorite day of the year.  I didn’t take too many pics but the memories are always in my mind.  This was the first year of my life without either of my parents to visit or call and wish a Happy Thanksgiving and tell them how much I loved them.  I am thankful every single day for the love of my parents.  They are the ones who made me realize family is so important.  The many Thanksgivings spent with the Caruso’s leave fond memories.  I am also thankful for the love of my husband and my kids and their partners.  I am a very fortunate lady, that is for sure!

As far as the day, this was a very smooth running year in my kitchen.  With help from the kids; Eric brought the mashed potatoes, Martin made a fruit salad, Paige brought sweet potato crisp and Rachel brought apple pie. Their help made it a much less stressful day in my kitchen.  Thank you guys!!

Thanksgiving 2017



I ended up getting a Butterball turkey at a local grocery store instead of getting a Heritage turkey.  You know what?  It was delicious.  I used an herb butter recipe that I rubbed on the turkey before putting it into the oven.  Delish!

As always I lightly stuff the cavity with stuffing. Kent likes stuffing from the bird. If I didn’t do this he would not be a happy camper.  I also bake the stuffing in a baking dish separate from the bird.  For the stuffing this year I made with a mix of Pepperidge Farm White, Wheat and Marble Rye.  Cut into cubes and toasted the bread in the oven versus letting them sit out over night.  That worked out just fine.  fullsizeoutput_399No need to leave out for 3 days to get stale!!

One thing I did differently this year was I made the stock for the gravy and stuffing the night before.  5BC22325-6B41-44ED-9E8C-C48B10AF2E79That was a great idea and I will do that every year.  I never realized how much time that takes.

I made a Butterflake Herb Loaf bread.   IMG_6387 This was a hit.  I found that recipe on King Arthur Flour website.  It takes some time but well worth it.

Our Thanksgiving table had great conversation, food and family.  We all agreed dinner was delicious and we are very thankful for each other.  It’s a new year. Let’s see what next Thanksgiving will bring. Ciao!!




Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

IMG_3405 (2)

I recently visited my mom in Syracuse.  She had fallen and broken her neck at the facility where she was staying.  She was there to begin with due to recent surgery on her leg.  I had 5 days in a row to visit with her and spend time with her.  My last day there she was in quite a bit of pain (my mom can take a lot of pain). She had a collar on her neck and was sitting in a straight back, upholstered chair.  I kept telling her through the week she should sit in the bed with it reclined.  She did NOT want to sit in that bed.  Finally, I was able to get her comfortable by sitting in her bed. We angled the bed so she could watch TV.  It took me 2 days to get my stubborn mom to accept the fact that lying in the bed, with it reclined, was much better for her.  Her last words to me that day as I was leaving were “Thank you, I feel much better”.  She even smiled.  I reminded her I would be back in June for her 90th birthday celebration and off I went!

When I got home from Syracuse I got a Mother’s Day card for her.  Finally mailed it out in a timely manner.  She would actually receive it before Mother’s Day.  However, when I was getting ready to mail the card I realized the verse would be too small for her to read.  I thought the verse in the card was perfect for how I feel about her.  I wanted her to be able to read it.  I ended up typing the verse on a separate piece of paper in large font and inserted that in the card.    Here it is:

‘Do you know what it means to be your daughter?
It means I always feel loved.
It means I have a true friend I can count on.
It means someone wise and wonderful believes in me and encourages my dreams.
It means I know how lucky I am because you are everything special a mom can be.’

This was definitely the perfect card.  Every single one of those statements are true.  I am a very lucky daughter.

Mom did not get to read my card.  She passed away in her sleep Thursday morning.

One thing for sure , she was my mother, sister, and best friend all in one.  I could tell her anything.  Anything and everything.  That one person in my life that never judged me – well, most of the time 😉   She definitely had her criticisms.  I mean, she is my mom!

She used to say to me “Honey, I love you more than you will ever know.”  Mom, I will miss you and will love you more than YOU will ever know.  Always and Forever.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

Dad – The Gift of Family and Food


IMG_3560I have been thinking a lot the past few days of what one gift dad gave me in my life. My thoughts always go back to family and food. For those who know me, you are well aware how much family and food are in my daily life. For dad it was the same. He loved his family. He was very devoted to every single family member. Not just mom, (for 67 years I will have you know), not just us kids or his grandchildren but his mom and dad and his siblings. He used to visit his parents and all of his siblings on a regular basis throughout the year, he tried almost weekly, up until he couldn’t anymore.

Holidays were filled with lots of food, family and fun. We would go to Grandpa Caruso’s, Aunt Bessie’s, or Uncle Mario’s for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Uncle Sammy’s home or Aunt Mary’s camp for the summer holidays.  Thanksgiving was at our home. I always loved the excitement in our home getting ready for Thanksgiving. The big event was Mom and Dad cleaning the turkey the night before. They seemed like they really enjoyed doing that job together. Getting the basement set up with the tables, plates, and silverware.  Loading up the refrigerator with soda and beer. Then the best part, the chalkboard. I am sure everyone remembers the chalk board and Dad’s fun comments he would write on there. I can vividly see him sitting at the table playing cards, laughing and having so much fun with his brother’s and sister’s. He loved those gatherings. They were very important to him.

Every Friday night after work he would make dinner. Peas and Macaroni was the popular dish.  That was my favorite. Sometimes he would stop at Atlantic Seafood and get fish, scallops and fries, or even an occasional breakfast for dinner. We all enjoyed those meals. There was always a seat for any of our friends. He never turned anyone away. There was always enough food to go around, conversation and laughter. He made sure of that.

Fast forward to my home today and we have Pizza Fridays and dinner every Sunday. This is our tradition. Our kids come over and sometimes they bring a friend or two. I never turn them away and there is always enough food and fun for everyone.

I never really thought about where I got the tradition of family gatherings. I never thanked dad for this wonderful gift. The importance of family, a great meal and making room for anyone who pops in to our front door.  It is a wonderful gift.  I am very fortunate to have unwrapped it.  Thanks, Dad. I love you.  You will be missed but remembered every Friday and Sunday in my heart.

Why you should start a blog :)

Today was a wonderful day.  First thing, I got a text from Eric this morning.  He said he was making sauce. Along with the text was a photo of his laptop with my blog beaming from it along with some chopped onions in front of it. july 033  That made my day. 🙂

I started this blog because I was making pizzas for my family.  Martin and my friend Jill (from Atlanta) kept telling me to do a blog.  I thought they were crazy.  It ended up being a diary for my kids with family recipes along with many, many other recipes.  For Christmas 2014 I made “cookbooks” out of my blog recipes for the kids.  I chose recipes out of my blog that were traditional recipes for our family and ones I knew they enjoyed through the years.  I wanted them to have the love of my “kitchen madness” online and in a notebook in their own kitchens.  I believe I succeeded in sharing my love of food with each of them. Here is why;

Today, Eric sent me texts throughout the morning while I was at work.  The best one he sent was when he said his home “starting to smell like home”.  july 034 How awesome is that?! I knew exactly what he meant. I often have memories of my childhood in my home with the scents of what I cook in my kitchen today.  Especially, when I cook sauce (I think it’s the garlic). 🙂 Times in my kitchen will bring back Sunday memories at my childhood home or at my grandparents home.  The powerful scent of food and those very special days. My mom in the kitchen, all of my family at the kitchen table having a wonderful dinner, being at Grandpa Caruso’s with all my aunts,uncles and cousins.  They sure were special days that I can appreciate now.  I sure didn’t back then!!  By the way, Eric was happy with the end result of his sauce and had a delicious lunch!!

Then this afternoon I received a phone call from Martin2.  He said he called to say hi but mostly he wanted to let me know how much he enjoyed my blog. He thinks it is awesome how I share the recipes of our home and how he can check them out any time he wants. (He is living and working in Door County for the summer.)  He was heading into work and was bringing with him the Tarator (cold cucumber soup) he made this morning.  He made this recipe to share with his coworkers. How special is that!   He mentioned there is a Bulgarian coworker that he especially wanted to share this soup with.  He wanted to see what she thought of this recipe.  I have made Tarator many, many times in our home.  I will be curious to see what she thinks and take any advice she can give to make it more authentic to the Bulgarian way.  🙂

As I am typing away I received a text from Martin.  He was making Calamari for Martin2 for dinner.  He made a marinade for the Calamari and sent me a pic.July 001   He was very excited to make something he has never done before. (and looking forward to Martin2 coming home for a day!).  I thought it was ironic as I am sharing my thoughts on my blog that he ended up texting a pic of his dinner.  Once again a reminder of how much love we put in our food for each other.  I mentioned to him that Martin2 called earlier about my blog.  His reply was a perfect ending to the start of a wonderful day.  July 002

I never, ever thought this silly blog would end up meaning so much to my family.  It is so nice to see (especially all in one day, from the start to the end) that it truly does have meaning and shows my family how special they are to me and how much I love every single one of them.  Am I lucky or what?!

IMG_4261Kent and I june 018Lily and Paige june 017 Eric and Rachel june 021Martin and Martin2 july 008 and last but not least Roonster!


Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars

Today, Martin, Martin2 and I went on a road trip to Milwaukee.  We happen to enjoy shopping together.  Our goal was to go to Pleasant Prairie Outlet Mall.  On the way there we stopped at the Milwaukee Public Market. Believe it or not in the 13 1/2 years I have lived in Wisconsin I have never been to this market.  Martin2 thought I would enjoy this pit stop.  It was wonderful.  There was lots of different restaurants and food entertainment for my pleasure.  There was a spice place, flower place, odds and end kitchen place, cheese place, lots of food to enjoy and my most favorite – Oro di Oliva.  If I have a weakness, this is it. A place with different oils and balsamic vinegar.  I tasted almost every single flavor they have.  I ended up getting their Popular Pairing Sample january 005and a large bottle of the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil.  So delicious!!

We went to Pleasant Prairie Outlet Mall.  Very much fun and enjoyed our window shopping with a touch of purchases.  Being able to walk outside, with the sun shining, fabulous company, lots of chatting and laughter was a perfect day.

Ending the evening with Kent and I having a couple of beers and a homemade pizza was wonderful.  Our pizza was a combination of the Tuscan Herb Olive oil and 18 year Balsamic Vinegar, a dash of dried oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, “my seasoning“, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. january 003  Now that is Simple and Delicious!!

The Year of the Cookbook

The Year of the Cookbook

I sit in my woman cave (just my upstairs room) alone, well maybe not alone, I have my dog hanging with me. It is a couple of weeks before Christmas and I think about gifts for that special day. I have so many ideas on my mind that I could give. I can give money, video games, clothes, books, gift cards, the list could go on and on. This year I want to do something different. So, I think… I love to cook for my family. They love me to cook for them. How about a cookbook! I have a food blog. This is easy, right?

I start by printing out recipes I know they will love. You just know, no doubts. Then I send a text to all of them and ask for three different meals and one exceptionally delicious sweet that they love. I tell them this is for our Christmas Eve menu. (Aren’t I sneaky?) Then I print out those recipes from my blog. I had to add one – Eric’s favorite Chicken Wing recipe. Only one, not too shabby! I then print out these recipes and a few more I knew they enjoyed.

Next was to decide what to put the recipes in; a folder, a binder, a I DON’T KNOW!!! I ended up picking up binders. I chose binders as close to their favorite colors as I could find. Picked up dividers and sheet protectors. The sheet protectors would keep the recipes from tearing and getting dirty, if they actually use them. Hey, that’s reality!

Next, how to make it personal and a little special. Well, I am a Post It crazy person. I put everything I need to remember on Post It’s. As I complete the task I rip them off and throw them away. I even have a Post It app on my phone. Actually, it is called Sticky Notes. It works just the same. The kids know this is my reminder method. That is just what I do!

So, I print out the recipes, some foodie quotes december 012and placed in sheet protectors, made a cover page letting them know how much I love them, because I do. Then the Post It notes. I bought vibrant colored ones. Put some special, personal notes together december 011and added those to some of the pages.  Then I thought what is a cookbook without a DVD so I added “Chef” to it. december 010 Great movie for any foodie out there! That made it complete!!

Christmas Eve came and I gave them their gifts. I am pretty sure they enjoyed receiving this gift made with love. I know I had quite fun putting it together. Definitely as much as spending time in my kitchen making the food they love.

Not sure if I could top this gift ever. I guess I have to keep spending time in my kitchen, making different recipes that they will love to add to this cookbook. I think that they will agree!!

There is nothing more important in our family than food, conversation, more food, laughs, some sweets, more laughter, more food and sweets and lots of love. We will have to see if I can top this gift next year. In the meantime I will definitely maintain that “Tradition in my Kitchen!!”

Tradition in the Kitchen – Random Stuff

I have been thinking a lot lately about our family “tradition in the kitchen”.  I have been going over my blog checking all the recipes I have done since I started in October 2011.  One of my first “Random Stuff” entries was about Eric and the gifts he had been giving me over a one year period related to pizza.  Here is that entry from January 3, 2012;

For Christmas last year (that would be 2010)Eric’s gift to me was a pizza peel.  When I got it I wasn’t sure when I would use it.  I discovered this great kitchen tool about 2 months ago when I started my pizza challenge.  I use it ALL the time.  Then for my birthday this year Eric got me this fabulous Emile Henry pizza stone and a pizza rocker.  (I see a theme here!)  I use each of these great kitchen tools every time I make pizza.  As you know that is every single week.  So, if you are serious (or not) about pizza here are a few of my great gifts.  Thanks, Eric!  🙂


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Zipping forward to 2014, who would have thought that taking on a 50 State, 50 Pizza challenge would turn into such a family tradition.  Those gifts kept me going and going with pizzas.  We have had pizza almost every Friday since October 2011.  We tried changing it up every now and then and that was fun but we always go back to pizza.  Every Friday I use that pizza peel, Emile Henry pizza stone and pizza rocker.  Every Friday Eric is the first to arrive joining Kent and I in our discussion about our week, current events and all kinds of crazy conversation.

I never say much about Eric because he is a private person. I think he should know that the pizza peel was the stepping block into a wonderful journey, every Friday with all of us talking, laughing, sometimes not so laughing, enjoying, sometimes maybe not so enjoying but in the end being there for each other.  Always there for each other.  That is our Pizza Fridays and our “tradition in the kitchen”.


Rocky Mountain High – Family, Food, Fun high that is!!

The Martin’s and I took a road trip to see Scott and Kathleen in Denver last week. July 2014 084 Now, I think you can imagine 17 hours, one way with these guys.  Lots of talking, music and driving.  It was a blast!  We surprised Scott and Kathleen by getting to their front door 12 hours earlier than they expected. 🙂  We ended up going to Cherry Creek which is a really nice area in Denver to shop.  Kathleen’s employer is in this area.  We had breakfast at The Syrup and did lots of walking around at the different shops.  After a long drive why not go shopping!

Scott and Kathleen, as always, were wonderful hosts.  Our first official day there we drove up to Mount Evans. On the way up we stopped by a lake and took our first photo op.

July 2014 098    denver photo op 3 denver photo op 4

Next was Mount Evans.  It was a beautiful drive up to the 14,264-foot summit.  We passed quite a few bicyclists on the way up.  Scott mentioned that he biked up this mountain.  I cannot imagine biking up this mountain.  Car ride works for me! MtEvans4 MtEvansMtEvans7  MtEvans6

The next day we ventured to Boulder.  We started our day at Chautauqua Park.  They have a wonderful restaurant there and breakfast was delicious.  After that, the Farmer’s Market and shopping on Pearl St.  “The Peppercorn” is a fun kitchen store I always visit when I go to Boulder. Pretty much shopping and enjoying the scenery there and while driving up to Boulder and back to Denver.  Scott drove quite the scenic route on the way back to Denver. Martin2 and I enjoyed the wolf sculpture on Pearl St.   I think he enjoyed it more though! 😉 July 2014 113

That evening we ended up having a food night, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Martin2 found some recipes in Food Network Magazines that Kathleen had laying around.  Kathleen mentioned she would like to get rid of the ample zucchini she had picked from her garden.  We found some stuffed zucchini recipes and settled on Tex Mex and Italian Stuffed Zucchini along with a 3 bean salad recipe.  Martin2 also  found a great rub for flank steak. These were very simple to make, especially with 3 faux chefs in the kitchen and a sous faux chef.  We totally forgot to take photos.  Too busy enjoying our time in the kitchen and conversation.  We enjoyed this simple and delicious meal on the Caruso Partio. July 2014 114Denverus What more could you ask but to spend an awesome time having fun with your family and sharing a delicious meal together?!

The next day the guys went to Red Rocks for a hike.  I have been there a few times.  Love it, but Kathleen and I hung out at the house.  Coffee and chatting on the partio in the morning was always very enjoyable.  It appears they had fun at Red Rocks.  Martin found a sculpture he also enjoyed! Denver3 When hiking they had to stay on the trail.  For all of us who know Martin that could be a challenge. This photo is perfect!!! Denver4   Of course we have the photo op with a beautiful background scenery of Red Rocks. Denver1

Everywhere I have been in Colorado is just beautiful.  July 2014 101July 2014 108July 2014 116

Thanks Scott and Kathleen! We had a wonderful time with you two.  Couldn’t have asked for a better vacation!


Italian Stuffed Zucchini


2 medium zucchini, halve lengthwise
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon juice from lemon
1/4 cup marinara sauce (I bought some tomato sauce, added 1 garlic clove, fresh basil, touch of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Simmered for 15-20 minutes and there is your marinara sauce.Save the extra for later!!)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
2.  Scoop out seeds from the zucchini, leave  a 1/4 inch thick shell
3.  Combine ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice in a medium bowl.  Season the zucchini with salt and pepper, fill with ricotta mixture.
4. Place zucchini on prepared baking dish. Drizzle each zucchini half with about 1 Tablespoon marinara sauce, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
5.  Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini


2 medium zucchini
Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (use chili powder if you don’t have this)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 Large tomato, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons scallions, chopped
3 Tablespoons  fresh cilantro, chopped
Sliced pickled jalapenos, for topping (optional) – we did not have this time


1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Halve 2 (not 3, you need the extra one for later) zucchini lengthwise; scoop out the seeds.  Then scoop out flesh leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell.  Chop the scooped out zucchini flesh and transfer to a bowl.
3.  Grate the remaining whole zucchini on the large holes of a box grater.  We peeled the skin before grating.  Add the grated zucchini to the bowl of chopped zucchini.  Add 1 teaspoon salt.  Set aside 10 minutes, then squeeze out the liquid.
4.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic, minced jalapeno, chili powder and grated zucchini mixture; cook until tender, about 4 minutes.  Let cool, then stir in cheese.
5.  Spoon into zucchini halves.  Transfer to baking sheet and bake until bubbling, about 20-25 minutes.
6.  While baking, combine the tomato, scallions and cilantro in a small bowl.  Spoon over the zucchini.  Top with the pickled jalapenos.

Chili and Coffee Rubbed Steaks

1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1/4 cup freshly ground coffee (Martin2 and I walked to Starbucks and picked out a bold Italian Roast, got a Turkish grind and that worked perfectly)
1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon coarse ground pepper
1-1 1/2#  flank steak (or whatever steak you desire)


1.  Mix all dry ingredients together.
2.  Blot the steaks dry.  Brush the meat with a little canola oil. Spread the coffee rub on a baking sheet and roll the steaks in the mixture to coat, using about 1 tablespoon per steak. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour but no longer-otherwise, the meat will begin to cure.
3.  Preheat a grill to medium high. Drizzle a little canola oil on both sides of each steak, then grill 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare.
4.  Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before slicing. YUMMY!